Why Russian software engineers are ranked #1 in Coursera’s research

Russia is on top of the IT world, while the country’s programmers are unparalleled when it comes to technology and data science.

Coursera, an American e-learning company, has released the second edition of their Global Skills Index 2020. The index consists of three main fields, and Russia has been named cutting-edge in two of the three: Technology and Data Science, while not only being ranked #1 in Europe but also in the entire world. The third field is Business, where Russia is #8 in Europe and #9 in the world.

So what is it that puts Russia so high at the top of the IT world, where the competition is as fierce nowadays as it’s never been before? 

To create the ranking, Coursera has used five components: their skill graph, skill score for country/industry/role, trending skills, correlations with third-party data, and top field of study & roles per selected skills.

First, let’s dive into the rankings themselves. We’ll first take a look at the Technology and Data Science Fields, and then check out the authors’ reasoning behind the Index.


Russia tops Belarus, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Finland – these countries are on the places from the 2nd to the 5th. 

The technology field consists of six subfields: Computer Networking, Databases, Human-Computer Interaction, Operating Systems, Software Engineering, Security Engineering. 

Russia was able to hit 100% in Databases, Operating Systems, and Software Engineering, and 98% in Security Engineering.

Data Science

In Data Science, Russia tops Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, and Finland – these countries are on the places from 2nd to the 5th.

The Data Science field consists of six subfields: Data Management, Data Visualization, Machine Learning, Math, Statistical Programming, and Statistics.

Russia got 100% in Statistical Programming, Math, and Data Management, as well as 98% in Machine Learning and Statistics.

Coursera’s comments

All of Russia’s tech and data science competencies are categorized as cutting-edge or competitive, with the Index showing that the country is unparalleled in software engineering, statistical programming, operating system, database, and data management skills.

They also went on and mentioned that Russia has been outperforming China and the US at international programming contests. 

Another important thing is that informatics is being taught as a compulsory subject in middle school. The skills students get then are later developed in higher education. For instance, Russia’s Higher School of Economics has announced the first top tier online master’s program in data science.

Coursera has also addressed Russia’s relatively low position on the Business Index, compared to the other two. They have, however, noted that the situation is looking to change as the Moscow and St. Petersburg’s startup scenes are constantly growing.

IT students from St. Petersburg win more contests than anyone else

We would like to add to the research from Coursera that universities from St. Petersburg, the city Fora Soft is located in, win International Collegiate Programming Contest more often than not just any city in the world, but any country. Students from St. Petersburg won the contest 11 times out of 27. The first two places are split among St. Petersburg Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics and Saint Petersburg State University, with 7 and 4 victories respectively. Many graduates from these schools end up working here, at Fora Soft!

International Collegiate Programming Contest is a competition between IT-specialized universities. 50,000 students from 3000 universities in 111 countries have taken part in the contest. Overall, Russian students have won 13 contests out of 27 times it was held, and the country has been on a winning streak since 2012.

The results can be easily seen on the Contest’s Wikipedia page. If you want to dive deeper into the information about the winners, please, visit the official website of the contest.

This fact correlates well with Coursera’s mention of how many engineering graduates are produced by Russia – about 450,000, which is more than in any other country in the world.

We at Fora Soft are proud to announce that even in the region with such high competition, we are still the best! Check out our report on the top B2B development companies in Russia.

If you want to learn more about our know-how or order a project from us, feel free to get in touch with us via the Contact us form!

By Nikita M

Copywriter and SMM. I have been writing different kinds of texts for a decade. From movie and soccer reviews to interviews with nation-famous people and video scripts for popular YouTubers - I have finally found myself here, at Fora Soft, where I write, proofread, post, and do all other things related to words.

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